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Northern Ireland Environment Link Logo
 

News

 

Events

 

Apr 2018 right left

      
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Coppicing Small Trees

Sunday 8th April
Knockbracken Allotments, South Belfast
Free

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Integrated Water Management and Sustainable Drainage

Wednesday 11th April
QUB, Medical Biology Centre, Lecture Room 2, Ground Floor, Lisburn Road, Belfast
Free

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Our Earth, Our Future: to mine or to mind?

Saturday 14th April
Greenvale Hotel & Restaurant, 57 Drum Road, Cookstown, Co. Tyrone
See website for details

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Path Maintenance

Sunday 22nd April
Bog Meadows Nature Reserve Belfast
Free

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Making Mitigation Work

Thursday 26th April
Red Cow Moran Hotel, Dublin
£45 – £160

LIFE Information Day – Dublin

Friday 27th April
Dublin
Free

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Biodiversity

Biodiversity in Northern Ireland sits within a broader international context, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity which came into force over 20 years ago and its associated targets and the EU 2020 Biodiversity Strategy.

Biodiversity

One of the aims of the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Strategy (DoENI, 2014) was to halt biodiversity loss by 2016. A review conducted by the Northern Ireland Biodiversity Group (2009) reported that “progress has been made with the processes and mechanisms of halting biodiversity loss” but “there is little hard evidence that the deterioration of Northern Ireland’s biodiversity is actually slowing down”. This is supported by the State of the Environment report (Northern Ireland Environment Agency, 2013).

Pressures on biodiversity in Northern Ireland stem from multiple factors including climate change, land abandonment, infrastructure development, invasive species and agricultural intensification.

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Examples of invasive alien species include Japanese knotweed, floating pennywort and Zebra mussels.

To date the Northern Ireland Environment Agency has declared a total of 360 Areas of Special Scientific Interest, 6.7% of the NI land mass, 104,861 acres, with an ambition to declare 440 by 2016.

Some habitats are particularly vulnerable to climate change; the risks are clearest for montane habitats (to increased temperature), wetlands (to changes in water availability) and coastal habitats (to sea–level rise).

There is strong evidence that climate change is already affecting UK biodiversity. Impacts are expected to increase as the magnitude of climate change increases.

There are currently 65 U.K. Priority Habitats, with 51 of these in Northern Ireland.

There are currently 481 Priority Species in Northern Ireland.

Since the 1950s, 41,000 hectares of countryside has been lost to urban development, with an unquantified loss of biodiversity.

The total land area of Northern Ireland is 14,160 km2 (1,416,000 ha). Approximately 6.6% of the land area of Northern Ireland is designated as ASSI for nature conservation, including earth science interest.

The total area of sea (below mean low water) which had been designated by the end of 2005 is estimated at 26,032 ha. This figure includes an area of open sea (approx. 1,095 ha) of Strangford Lough Marine Nature Reserve which is not covered by any other designation.

The rate of habitat and biodiversity loss has slowed and protection has increased with over 100,000 hectares declared as Areas of Special Scientific Interest.

Over two–thirds (708) of 1,031 features assessed within areas of special scientific interest in Northern Ireland are in a favourable condition.

Between 1994/95 and 2010/11 the total wetland bird population is estimated to have decreased by 23%. Coastal populations declined by 4% while freshwater populations declined by 54%.

Adult common seal populations at Strangford Lough have fluctuated over recent years, but the 2012 adult population of 202 was above the average for the last ten years (199). The highest population recorded at Strangford Lough in the last ten years (288) was recorded in 2003.